HOUSE senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin on Wednesday slammed Sen. Richard Gordon’s alleged falsified and twisted statements on Senate blue ribbon committee report recommending the filing of criminal charges against her and others in connection with the diversion of a P10.6-billion fund from the Philippine Health
Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
During the House minority bloc’s weekly virtual press conference, Garin, a former Health secretary during the Aquino administration, dismissed as a big joke, recycled and baseless the recommendation of Gordon’s panel that the diversion of a P10.6-billion fund from PhilHealth intended for senior citizens in 2015 was allegedly used to siphon funds to finance the 2016 elections.
"Gordon's report is a big joke!" Garin said. “Despite the repeated lambasting of Gordon against me, taking advantage of his position as Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Good Government, I have kept mum. I see no point on wasting my time on recycled, baseless accusations aimed at diverting the real issues. Falsified and twisted statements from Gordon is not new to me. He has demonized me to the core, simply because I was a member of the Aquino Cabinet and refused to be manipulated by the Philhealth Mafia during my tenure.”
The Gordon’s panel also said that the use of the P10.6 billion "on uncompleted projects for political campaign purposes" affected the financial growth of the PhilHealth. Garin insisted that it was during her “very short stint of more than a year that drastic reforms were implemented.”
“Nakita ko gaano kaluma, kabulok ang sistema sa loob that is why I introduced reforms,” said Garin.
“Some of these reforms I implemented are the following: Stop payment order against flagged institutions, which was very effective. Who overturned this? Review on case rates and alignment with medical associations was stopped. Who was responsible for this? Changes in the organizational structure installed for purposes of check and balance was immediately overturned when I left PhilHealth. Cases filed were transported to the ICU (intensive care unit) and allowed to sleep.
Who did this? Excessive and exorbitant travels and seminars were stopped. Who brought this back? These reforms earned me the ire of the Philhealth mafia. Marami ang nagalit, marami ang ayaw sa paglilinis sapagkat kinain na ng mali at maruming sistema sa loob,” said Garin.
“Nakakapagtaka na pilit binabaliktad yung katotohanan. The Senate Committee on Good Government investigated the Wellmed Dialysis Scam where allegations of ghost patients and fraudulent practices were revealed by whistleblowers. More than a year ago pero tila pinatulog ito. Kaya naman lumala and impunity became very clear to those who continuously abuse and defraud PhilHealth,” Garin added.
In a related development, House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera welcomed the resignations of PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales and senior vice president for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario Jr. with the hope that other PhilHealth officials involved in anomalies will follow suit.
“We hope the resignations of PhilHealth president Morales and SVP Del Rosario will signal the start of an honest-to-goodness internal cleansing of the embattled state health insurer,” said Herrera.
Herrera said this change in leadership and management represents an opportunity for a fresh start for PhilHealth, which is entrusted with the important task of ensuring that all Filipinos have equitable access to quality and affordable health care services.
“We call on other PhilHealth officials involved in irregularities to do the same and resign immediately to spare the agency from further damage,” Herrera said.
The lady lawmaker said the resignation of the entire PhilHealth management team will give the next set of officers “a free hand to institute urgent and much-needed reforms.”